KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jacob deGrom exited with a sore right wrist after pitching four spotless innings, and two Texas Rangers relievers completed a one-hitter Monday night in a 4-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
The Rangers said deGrom was removed as a precaution. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner struck out five and walked one, throwing 39 of his 58 pitches for strikes.
“I felt it a little bit warming up,” deGrom said. "I thought it was going to loosen up and it actually tightened up a little bit as the game went on.
“We’re playing it smart. Could I have kept going? Probably. But it was lingering and it got a little bit worse as the game went on. I just want to play it safe. We’ve got a long season ahead of us.”
Texas manager Bruce Bochy said there's concern any time you have to take a player out of a game because of injury, but he's optimistic.
“We'll re-evaluate him tomorrow,” Bochy said. “Any time you take somebody out, that's a fair question. I think I can answer it better tomorrow. Right now, I feel pretty good about it.”
Josh Jung launched a three-run homer in the first inning and Marcus Semien added a solo shot in the third. Dane Dunning (1-0) struck out five and walked none in 4 1/3 innings of relief.
“He's been doing a terrific job for us,” Bochy said. “With the confidence in Dane coming in, we felt good. We brought in a guy who's been throwing the ball well. He was set to go, so that was an easy call.”
Matt Duffy's one-out single in the fifth off Dunning was Kansas City's only hit. José Leclerc got two outs to end it.
Beset by injuries the past two seasons with the New York Mets, deGrom signed a $185 million, five-year contract with Texas as a free agent in December.
“I'm honestly not too concerned,” he said. “I would like to think I'll make my next (start), but we'll see how it is tomorrow.”
The right-hander is 1-0 with a 3.48 ERA in four starts for the Rangers.
Kansas City (4-13) dropped to 1-10 at home this season. Jordan Lyles (0-3) gave up four runs — one earned — and three hits in eight innings. He walked three and struck out three.
The Rangers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first. Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier committed a throwing error on Semien's leadoff grounder and then a fielding error on Travis Jankowski's bunt. One out later, Jung sent a drive over the left-field bullpen.
“(Lyles) was incredible, and that’s why I felt so bad when I didn’t make those two plays,” Dozier said. "He looked really good for us, and I wish we could’ve played better behind him and got some runs for him.”
Semien led off the third with a 412-foot shot to left.
The only baserunners deGrom permitted came on an error by first baseman Nathaniel Lowe in the third and a walk to Vinnie Pasquantino in the fourth.
Royals LHP Kris Bubic had additional tests on the flexor strain that landed him on the 15-day injured list after Saturday's start. Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro said the first test confirmed the strain but also revealed some “underlying concerns” that required a second opinion.
The teams continue their three-game series Tuesday night, when Texas sends RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-2, 6.32 ERA) to the mound against RHP Brad Keller (2-1, 2.12).
The two starters matched up last Wednesday, with Keller picking up the win and Eovaldi taking the loss in Kansas City’s 10-1 victory. Keller allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings, while Eovaldi gave up six runs in five innings.